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NIST Defines AI Ground Rules For Agencies

US Government Agencies

What was, once a futuristic novelty, is starting to become a utility. Agencies, it appears, have now begun to embrace AI, making the artificial intelligence technology part of their workflows.

As agencies continue to experiment with AI as a tool to transform the way they do business, NIST has set a technology roadmap for the government’s role in developing future artificial intelligence breakthroughs.

NIST being, the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

While recognizing that this technology that, buzzworthy as it is now, actually dates back to the 1960s. And yet still remains in its infancy. The time then is to provide clarity and guidance to agencies looking to adopt this new domain.

To that end, this is the federal government’s first major effort in this regard.

After months of feedback from industry and elsewhere in government, to go with an in-person workshop in May, NIST has laid down a few ground rules that detail what agencies should and should not be doing with AI tools going forward.

Elham Tabassi, the acting chief of staff at NIST’s Information Technology Lab makes clear:

“It’s important that the standards should not be over-prescriptive. Otherwise, they are stifling innovation. And it’s extremely important for the case of AI, being a fast-moving technology. So, flexibility is the key.”

He is also the lead author of the NIST report, the main takeaway of which is striking the right balance between regulation and innovation.

Easier said than done, but you have to start somewhere, right?

NIST actually found in its report that industry groups had already established AI standards on everything from data to risk management. However, and to no surprise, not a single organization had yet finalized a template for developing public trust in decisions reached by AI algorithms.

This, the institute believes, remains a significant hurdle for rolling out AI tools at agencies.

Written by Sarah Hadley

With more than 12 years of experience in the IT sector, 9 of these specializing in security, Sarah has found her focus in cloud computing and cloud security. She lives in California with her family and does not own a TV.

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